I'm in Belize City for a couple of days. Placencia has no phones, no water,
no electricity, and many, many people have no homes (me included).
We had lots of looting for the first few days after the hurricane (and even
BEFORE the hurricane), but the Belize police and BDF have gotten that under
Right now, the concentration is on getting water to people, putting on roofs
and repairing the few inhabitable homes that are left, plus debris removal.
(The area of the sidewalk from BTL south past Serenade looks like the site
of a very large explosion, with almost no buildings left.)
On the beach, Tradewinds (Placencia Village), Sonny's (Placencia Village),
Coconut Cottages (Placencia Village), Cozy Corners (Placencia Village),
Wamasa (Seine Bight), Ranguana Lodge (Placencia Village), Julia and
Lawrence's(Placencia Village), Sunrider (Placencia Village), Dockside
(Placencia Village), Maya Playa (Maya Beach) and Tentacles (Placencia
Village) no longer exist (except for rubble). Angelfish Inn in Seine Bight
looks heavily damaged.
Three cabanas at Ranguana Lodge survived intact, but were rolled upside down
onto their roofs. When Eddie Leslie tried to right them, they fell apart.
Tony Eiley expects to start rebuilding Dockside and Tentacles as soon as he
can win his argument with his insurance company (he was on the early Tropic
flight with me this morning).
Sea Spray's oldest building has been condemned, but Norman and Jodie think
they can have the two-story building reconstructed by Christmas. Westwind
is still there, but heavily damanged (a couple of small rooms are somewhat
Jake Roberts, Kerrie Turton and Brad Turton have been working feverishly to
restore the Internet Cafe (sans Internet) to provide free breakfasts to
hurricane workers. The Galley is feeding the BDF and BJ's is the NEMO
headquarters to provide meals and clothing to local residents.
Kitty's is open, has a few rooms available and is serving a limited menu in
the restaurant. She should be fully operable by Nov. 1. The quads at Rum
Point escaped with only minor damage as did the main building (Corol and
George's private residence suffered more damage).
Rum Point expects to be fully operational by around Thanksgiving, as does
Serenity (right now with a full house of NEMO and BEL employees).
Robert's Grove should be up and fully running by Nov. 1 (including the
beach-side pool in the new condo development, the pool in the main hotel
area needs some repairs that may take a bit longer).
Not sure about Luba Hati, and Mariposa doesn't expect to be back on-line
until Jan. 15 or later. Miller's Landing should be ready to go around
Turtle Inn was virtually obliterated, but Coppola is already bulldozing the
old buildings and we hear he is ready to rapidly reconstruct with new (and
Village Inn and Sun and Sea Cabanas were also also heavily damaged and we
don't know whether they plan to re-open. Only 2 structures remain on the
Mother Ocean property, both uninhabitable.
I haven't been to Maya Beach since we drove through from Cave's Branch last
Wednesday (a BIG thanks to Ian Anderson who took in a bunch of Placencia
refugees and provided us with wonderful food and shelter, asking only for a
contribution to the Rescue Team). However, I've been told that Barnacle
Bill's is ready to go, plus Maya Beach Hotel.
The biggest problem may be water. One diver reported that the main water
pipeline under water in the Placencia Lagoon between Placencia and
Independence looks like a corkscrew. We've heard that a completely new pipe
needs to be laid, which could take some time. The larger resorts will truck
in water, but the lack of water could prove insurmountable to the smaller
lodging facilities that are able to rebuild, especially in Placencia and
Seine Bight Villages (not to mention the problems that causes for
BEL is working frantically to restore electrical service. BTL has installed
a bank of 5 pay phones and 2 Internet connections in a small building
located behind the existing BTL building (the existing building suffered
significant damage). The BTL execs from Belize City wouldn't offer a time
estimate for restoration of service, but full restoration could take up to 4
Placencia has a LOT of homeless people right now. One of our best guides
sent his wife and baby to relatives, and he's living in a small house with
14 other people. Four of my friends and I are living in 2 bedrooms, but we
do have two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a small living room -- luxury
under the circumstances.
The prospects for permanent lodging for people who don't own their own
property is pretty grim, plus, lots and lots of local residents have no
insurance. I was told by a Department of Natural Resources employee that
people in the Villages are sleeping on the beach. Food supplies are
somewhat low as most of the donated food is being funnelled south to Toledo.
Atlantic Bank has re-opened, but few people are doing any banking. (Small
businesses here live basically hand-to-mouth, and this is the end of the
slow season, when few people have any remaining monetary resources.)
Except for the palm trees, most of the vegetation in Placencia Village is
gone, leaving it hot and barren. However, some trees are already showing
signs of new leaves, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. (My lobster claw
plants survived in pretty decent shape, and my neighbor's grapefruit tree
looks better than ever. Most of the craboo trees were pulled up by the
roots, as were many of the cashews and mangos.)
The lack of foliage is causing a big problem for the local iguana
populations and I was told that the Howler Monkey population was seriously
Many people believe that lots of tornadoes were within Hurricane Iris. In a
number of areas, one house is heavily damaged, while the structure right
next to it appears untouched. People who stayed in Placencia Village during
the hurricane report lots of wind shifts and that the wind seemed to be
trying to twist their buildings.